Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thrones with Ehnahre, Summerduck, and Spacetrain [Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, 5/20/2009]

After actually moving stuff, I managed to get my act together in time to burn down 128, get stuck in the current terminal neckdown of 93 as the government wisely fixes the existing roads with their stimulus money instead of building new ones, but makes up for it with extra stupidity in closing them when people need to drive on them, and get to the venue a little before doors. Of course, this is aided and abetted by the Middle East being right next door to the lot I use; WITTR tonight will involve going straight from work despite the similar 9pm start.

Spacetrain [4.5/7]
"A hardcore band's rhythm section playing Sabbath covers" is probably too succinct and unfair, but it's close enough; this combo of bass and drums did a decent set of Sabbathy groove material, but even as a bassist myself, there's only so much that you can do with this set of instruments and this general style. If they added guitars, they'd just be another loud doom band, but at least at this point, they aren't really getting out of being a loud doom band by not having a guitarist.

Summerduck [5/7]
The flyers billed them as "slow and loud", which they definitely fulfilled; the least metal of the bands on this gig, they had a more indie-doom sound, like you might get from the Mountain Goats if John Darnielle had spent more of his formative years listening to Neurosis and Motorhead and less to Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. Good stuff, thick, stone-heavy, and packing a fair amount of dissonance.

Ehnahre [6/7]
They've slimmed down as a band since the last time I saw them (admittedly, like a year and a half ago), and without their former trumpeter, their sound is significantly more grind than doom; it's a pretty even trade overall, and it fit in better in this context, giving a nice shot of fast aggression and about the only guttural vocals of the night right in the middle of the bill. Their set ended, at least from my perspective, a little abruptly; maybe this is expectations versus constant set times, but this was a cool set that could definitely have gone on a couple more songs without anyone minding.

Thrones [7/7]
Since Joe had disagreed with me about how good his performance was with Sigh here back in '02 (in the course of which conversation I stuck to my guns, but made an ass of myself in other ways, doubtless), I was looking forward to a performance of equal or greater magnitude. We got it; this was less raw and aurally vicious than back then, but the overall effect (as well as the material selection) was comparable. I can't really compare this to someone into noisy music seeing Thrones flat cold and unsuspecting, but it was a killer set all the same, and should have gone on substantially longer than it did. Blame that on Boston; Joe turned the set over to feedback right at 12:15 and hied himself to his merch table, knowing that the club was going to turn the lights on and start chucking people. Boo curfews, moar Thrones.

Next gig is of course Wolves In The Throne Room at Great Scott tonight; in addition to the handful of CDs that I got from the bands here, I also came away still pretty sure that I didn't see Converge on that Sigh date. For one thing, even in 2002 there's no way they would have gone on before Warhorse, and for another, the dude that Ben and I left in charge of WBOR while we drove down was about the world's biggest Converge fan, and would definitely have killed us if we'd seen them while he was doing my show.

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